Accident Bell 206LT TwinRanger C-GSQA, 22 Jan 2020
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 232383
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Time:14:13 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bell 206LT TwinRanger
Owner/operator:Gouvernement du Québec
Registration: C-GSQA
MSN: 52060
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Lac Saint-Jean, near Alma, QC -   Canada
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Saint-Henri-de-Taillon, Quebec
Destination airport:La Tuque Airport, QC (YLQ/CYLQ)
Investigating agency: TSB Canada
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On the morning of 22 January 2020, two helicopters operated by Quebec’s Service aérien gouvernemental took off from the Montréal/St-Hubert Airport (CYHU), Quebec, at 07:50 local time, bound for Saint-Henri-de-Taillon, Quebec, to provide air support to a search for snowmobilers who had been reported missing the day before.
Early in the afternoon, one of the 2 helicopters, the Bell 206L-4 (registration C-GSQA), was released from this assignment, and the pilot, alone on board, took off from Saint-Henri-de-Taillon at 14:02, bound for the La Tuque Aerodrome (CYLQ), Quebec. Approximately 7 minutes after takeoff, the helicopter struck the frozen, snow-covered surface of Lac Saint-Jean. The aircraft was destroyed but there was no post-impact fire. Despite serious injuries, the pilot was able to egress from the aircraft and call the Service aérien gouvernemental dispatcher to report the accident.

Findings as to causes and contributing factors:
1. Even though visibility was 25 statute miles, flat light was obscuring the shadows and contrast at the snow-covered surface of the lake, reducing the visual cues needed for depth perception and 3-dimensional vision.
2. The pilot’s knowledge and training did not provide him with the skills to recognize the risks associated with low contrast resulting from flat light during cruise flight and when good visibility made it possible to see the shoreline in the distance.
3. Given the operational constraints related to speed and remaining daylight, and the fact that the aircraft had twin engines, the pilot, who was able to distinguish the shoreline in the distance, veered to the right to fly a more direct path to his destination, moving laterally away from the shoreline.
4. Even though the shoreline was visible in the distance, once the pilot moved laterally away from the shoreline and passed the islands, there was a significant reduction in reliable visual cues on the ground to help the pilot establish and maintain his height visually over the snow-covered surface of a lake; this situation went unnoticed by the pilot.
5. Given the significant decrease in reliable visual cues on the ground, an unexpected descent went unnoticed by the pilot and the helicopter struck the frozen surface of the lake. It is highly likely that the helicopter was under control at that point.

Sources: (photo)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TSB Canada
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

23-Jan-2020 15:22 rossmcgowan Added
23-Jan-2020 17:56 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Nature, Narrative]
25-Jan-2020 07:40 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative]
07-Feb-2020 19:49 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Source]
22-Feb-2021 18:04 harro Updated [Nature]
03-May-2021 19:13 Anon. Updated [Phase, Narrative]
10-Dec-2021 20:50 harro Updated [Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Accident report]
11-Dec-2021 13:38 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Embed code, Damage]

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